Contest Winner for March

Contest Winner for March is Natalie Di Giandomenico from Hamilton, Ont.

Let me begin at . . . well, at the beginning. The first memory I have is when I was only three years old, playing a lullaby on the piano. My parents were there, saying “She’s gonna be great someday, you know”.

Determined that I would be, the years passed with me being enrolled in dance, swimming, skating, soccer, gymnastics – pretty much everything you can think of. But even though I tried so hard, I’d never necessarily been “great” at any of them, even piano, which I guess is why I dropped them all.

So there I was, an eight-year-old girl with so much of her life ahead of her but no discovered talent. I kinda guessed my parents were disappointed after spending all that money with no result, but then I happened to see a concert on television. For the next few weeks, I felt this kind of hope inside myself. Maybe if I just tried singing . . . then I would be “great”. I’d please everyone around me and maybe even myself, the hardest critic of all.

I told my parents and since they had nothing to lose, signed me up with a Romanian teacher named Gina who has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I still remember the first thing she said to me as soon as I had walked through the door: “You need your diaphragm to make sound, but you need your heart to sing. I’ll be teaching you only how to sound good. No-one can teach you how to sing. Or to be great.” Cheesy, I know, but after eight years of failed attempts in the mines I began to think I had finally struck gold.

Cut to me at age fourteen, stumbling along the halls of high school for the first time. I’d already been booked, unable to open my locker, kilted and late for all my classes. Needless to say, I was on the verge of tears. Then I heard voices singing as I pushed past the music room. The only way I convinced myself that the hell we call secondary school and the awe that comes from singing are connected was a school choir. So I signed up, had an audition and got in.

I’m not saying that everything immediately turned into a story with a happy ending. There’s a whole slew of people in choir who are better than me. But I feel happy, because being even a little part of a beautiful thing is amazing. Life’s still hard work though, and unfair, and some things will never change. So I guess my parents will have to wait a little longer for that “someday”, because I am most definitely not “great”.


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